Most German Shepherd “mothers to be” are good eaters while they’re carrying their litter of puppies. However, not all of them are. This is why it is important to make sure you are feeding her a top quality food to ensure that she is getting the proper amount of nutrition. Supplementing her food with vitamins is important also. Some bitches will go off their food at certain times when they are pregnant and the owner is about ready to pull her hair out worrying that her puppies are not going to be healthy. I had a bitch do this every single time that she was bred. Because she did this, I knew she was in whelp. Like some women who get morning sickness when they are pregnant, there’s no reason to think that some dogs don’t go through the same thing. Any and all food that I would offer her, she would refuse, EXCEPT…….dog biscuits. She loved dog biscuits when she was pregnant. So dog biscuits are what she got along with her vitamins. Just as long as she was eating something, I didn’t care! If anyone came to my house and looked at her, they must have thought that I abused her because she looked so skinny.
Anyway, let’s assume that your girl continues to eat; you should increase her food the last couple of weeks during her pregnancy because she’s eating for a whole litter now! Sometimes a bitch may go off her food or cut back during the last few days of her pregnancy.
By now you will have set up a whelping box for your bitch in a quiet area of your house where she is free from unneeded stress or other distractions. You will have bought a heating lamp for the whelping box as it is important to keep the new pups warm and toasty. Make sure that the whelping box that you invest in is large enough for the mother to stretch out and big enough for her growing puppies. Another thing the whelping box should have is a rail that goes around the inside of the box. This is where the puppies can lay under so they don’t accidentally get squished by their mother. I know some breeders use a kiddy pool for the mother and her puppies. They swear by it, but I don’t understand how those puppies don’t get squished.
Hopefully you have been in contact with your veterinarian about your breeding of your bitch. You have let him know when she is due to whelp. As the actual time of her whelping draws near, you should be in contact with him to let him know how she is doing. Also you should know what his procedure is if your girl should run into an emergency situation. Will he come to her aid and meet you at his office during the evening hours after his office is closed? Or do you have to rely on an emergency vet to take care of her needs? Find this all out BEFORE you actually need help! A Vet that works with a breeder is a God send!
During the bitches last few days of pregnancy it is a good idea to monitor her body temperature. Normally you can do this using a rectal thermometer. The normal body temperature for animals is generally higher than for humans. The normal rectal temperature of a dog is 99.5° to 102.5°F. What you’re looking for is her temperature to drop to 98 degrees from her normal 99 – 101 degrees. You may even see her temperature fluctuate going up and down. It’s when it stays down, you normally have 12 – 24 hours from the time that she first started to drop her temperature. When it goes down to 98 or 97.9, then you may expect the first born in 2 – 12 hours. This is just a guideline as all bitches are different.
When your bitch is getting closer to whelping, you may find she goes from periods of sleeping for hours to becoming restless pacing back and forth. She may look stressed and excited. She will have to urinate more because of the pressure that she is feeling. Make sure you go outside with her when she goes potty as you don’t want her running off somewhere in the woods to deliver her first puppy. When her water breaks, you might not even see it, but if you check her, right before she’s ready to give birth, you will normally see a white mucous like substance. Stay with her. Your litter of puppies is getting ready to enter this world!
To be continued…..
From the book: "THE COMPLETE BOOK OF DOG BREEDING"....... A veterinarian with many years of canine practice experience offers guidance to novice and professional dog breeders, emphasizing the responsibilities of reputable breeders to their dogs and to the buyers of the puppies they produce. Topics covered include: the choosing, health, quality, and conditioning of brood stock; practical DNA use, and Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) surveys and data storage to scientifically improve the selection of healthy brood stock and puppies; potential breeding problems; artificial insemination; pregnancy and its duration; embryonic and fetal activity; pregnancy nutrition; physical changes during pregnancy; stages of labor; normal and Cesarean-section births, and how to assist in both; nutrition of dams and puppies and how to recognize and prevent potential problems in both; neonatal puppy care; lactation and weaning the puppies; socializing the puppies; pedigrees, registration, and titles; and much more. Filled with color photos and line art.
My rating: Dog breeding: (1 - 4)